Waiting for a transplant, mother waits to meet newborn twins
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — There’s a reunion in the works. A big one.
It’ll bring back Marlana Ramsey, who suffered heart failure after giving birth to twin boys three weeks ago. The two boys, who were born five weeks prematurely, are doing well.
Mom and the babies are 50 miles apart, Marlana in a Boston hospital, perhaps in need of a heart transplant, her kids in a Manchester hospital, where they’re building strength before going home to Gilmanton.
Their names are Wesslin and Colbin, as unique as their family’s story. Marlana and her twins came close to dying. Now the family is seeking money for the astronomical costs needed for the medical care involved.
I met Marlana’s husband, Chris Ramsey, at BAM recently. He said his wife faces an uncertain future. He told me his wife’s heart grew weak as her due date approached, until it stopped beating and a cesarean section was needed.
There was a moment when the machines beeped in urgency, and the heartbeat line on the monitor went straight, and the medical staff came rushing into the room like a tornado.
“I felt like I was watching the life leave my wife,” he told me. “All I can remember is once I heard the flatline happen, I thought that I’m not sure my wife or my sons will make it through.”
But they did, making the conversation I had with Chris hopeful, filled with gratitude and vision for that reunion I mentioned earlier.
This is a slow-evolving love story about two friends at Concord High School who did everything together, yet kept a line between them out of fear of destroying what they had.
They went to the beach, to amusement parks, to dinner, to movies, to concerts. Classmates, in fact, thought they were dating.
“We were always walking together in the hall, inseparable,” Chris told me. “We were those two people for a long time, but we never dated.”
Was there a whisper of romance in the air?
“There was always something there between us, and everyone knew it and my mom and my whole family said one day we’d marry each other,” he said. “Her family knew there was definitely something between us, but the idea scared us. We never crossed that bridge. We never even came close.”
After high school, after a rough breakup, after trying to fight the pain on his own, Chris sought his close friend for comfort.
You know the rest.
“You reach out to your best friends when you’re going through tough times,” Chris said. “So I reached out to her and we ended up hanging out, getting ice cream, going to the park, and from there it all kind of clicked and we fell in love.”
I asked Chris to describe his wife.
“She is goofy, fun, loves music,” he said. “Almost every song that comes on the radio is her favorite song. She’s just the greatest person I’ve ever met, and I know people say that when these types of things happen, but like I said, she’s been my best friend going on 13 years now.”
They had two girls, 5-year-old Ilithyia, who likes drawing and gymnastics, and Trulee, 2, who loves the color yellow.
From there, Marlana settled into motherhood.
“My wife only wanted to be a mother,” Chris said. “That is where she finds her success and her happiness — through our kids — and she has done a great job.”
Meanwhile, Chris began a career changing electric meters in Indianapolis. The couple sold their home and planned to move out there this summer. Marlana cared for the kids at her grandmother’s home in Gilmanton, waiting to move, waiting for the twins to be born, waiting for her new life.
Then Marlana’s chest turned tight. Her legs swelled. She went to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, then to Concord Hospital, then to Elliot Hospital, where, finally, a blood clot was discovered in her ankle.
Chris was with Marlana when their world fell apart.
“She sat down and said I have shortness of breath,” Chris told me. “She was breathing hard and her face went white and then gray. I was right there. She said she had a pain in her chest, she couldn’t hear much. From there, it got worse and worse.”
Her heart stopped beating, for maybe five seconds, Chris estimated. From the stress of the pregnancy, he said.
“Twenty doctors in there, I can’t tell you how many nurses,” Chris said. “They reacted well and kept her alive.”
They wheeled her to an operating room and a C-section was performed. Wesslin weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces, his brother 5 pounds, 11.14 ounces. They’re fine, resting at Elliot Hospital in Manchester.
Marlana is at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Her heart might heal on its own, but Chris said the chances of that happening aren’t great. More likely, she’ll need a transplant. She’s on a list, waiting for the right donor.
She’s also waiting for something else.
“It’s been over two weeks, and she has not even met her sons yet,” Chris said. “I can’t wait until she’s in a room and they’re in the room with her and I can formally introduce them.”
For more information: The Concord Monitor, www.concordmonitor.com